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Overcoming a fear of public speaking to present authentically, with confidence and ease

The situation

  • Keith was really nervous about speaking to groups and would avoid it at all costs. He wasn't even very keen on speaking up and asking a question during someone else's presentation or in meetings. He felt this was holding him back in his career and it was also denting his confidence more generally.

What we did

  • Developed a new strategy to deal with the physical sensation of being nervous  I gave Keith some techniques to calm his body and his mind down, that he could use if he felt his nerves building.

  • Switched Keith's focus ​Rather than focusing on what people would think, we switched the focus to the value of what he had to say or the question he had to ask.

  • We challenged his evidence that told him he was no good at public speaking We took an objective look at the presentations he had done in the past and he reluctantly had to admit that what he'd been telling himself about them for all those years wasn't actually true. They'd been fine, so it wasn't guaranteed he would look stupid and be unsuccessful after all.

  • Challenged the cause of the fear and changed the internal dialogue Having realised he'd done OK in the past we looked at the other things he was saying to himself about presenting that were causing him to feel fear about public speaking and explored some different perspectives and some more useful things that he could say to himself that would negate the fear.

The result 

Keith

  • Became confident about speaking in front of groups.

  • He realised he could just be himself and focus on expressing his ideas and voicing his questions for the benefit of the audience.

  • He let go of the fear of being judged badly.

  • His general confidence grew.

  • He took what he learnt from the process of tackling this issue to help him address other challenges in his life.

What my client said 

Having never experienced any coaching in the past I wasn't really sure what to expect from the sessions, but deciding to sign up for them turned out to be one of the best decisions for both my personal and professional development that I have made in a long time.

 

Each of the sessions was quite unique in terms of what was covered and the only aspect that was the same was the fact that I came away feeling like I had really achieved something by managing to move forward with at least one issue that I had been struggling with for some time. 

 

I can't think of another instance where I have ever managed to discuss areas for improvement with a smile on my face and for want of a better phrase 'a warm fuzzy feeling' That's certainly how I felt during the coaching sessions that I was fortunate enough to have with Mary.

 

The sessions were structured in such a way that we primarily focused on my strengths which made me feel empowered enough to formulate a plan of action to tackle my problems.

 

Mary clearly has a natural flair for coaching and within moments she made me feel at ease. She has the ability to lead and motivate in a manner that is inquisitive yet unobtrusive and I ended up questioning doubts about my abilities that I had raised only minutes before. I ended the sessions having achieved the objective in a very seamless way. She is a truly inspiring coach with a style that both grasps your attention and wins your confidence.